A/N: AU one-shot for OoT. Kinda reincarnation and Link/Sheik friendly. Also, yea, I don't know...

Summary: He knows the Hero of Time was supposed to awaken after seven years...but he didn't. He knows that this all was supposed to end and start over and be good and pure again...but it didn't.

I have been a bastard, a slave, a brother, a pawn, and, occasionally, a hero. I have lived these seventeen years of my life knowing that I have lived almost two hundred years before them. I have fought and raged and tried to be the font of strength that it is required I be. Often, I fear, I have failed.

My name is Sheik.

You do not know me.

This is not even my story.

Two hundred years ago I was seventeen, standing in the broken down ruin of the Temple of Time, knowing deep in my bones that the Hero of Time should wake any moment. He had not. I do not know why. Princess Zelda, my half-sister, though she never once called me brother, had hoped at first that the seal breaking was just delayed. She had ordered me to go back, every day, hoping against hope that he would wake tomorrow, or the day after, or the day after that.

Days had fell away to weeks, to months, to years.

I died the first time when I was twenty, fighting off a legion of Undead that tried to swarm into the Temple of Time. I killed them all, but bleed to death at the Hero's feet as he slept on, lost in the ebb and flow of displaced time. At the same moment I came squalling from between my mother's thighs. In that, my second life, I was not the King's bastard, though I have been a time or five since. I was a Sheikah, I am always a Sheikah, it is written upon my soul with indelible ink that I be born with bone-white hair and blood-red eyes, and skin the color of rich new earth.

In every life, at the age of seventeen, I find my way to the Temple of Time, and wait there, for the other side of my soul to awaken. In every life, he sleeps on, unchanged and untouched by the destruction, death, decay that surrounds him. He sleeps, forever seventeen, grasping the thrice-damned sword to his chest, a small smile on his lips. He sleeps, and as long as he sleeps I must exist, because I am bound to him.

An unending cycle of death and rebirth has taught me first to hate him and then to love him. Would that I had passed those many years ago into the final deep sleep, I desire it still, a chance to finally rest from the two century long fight that has been my existence. But I have struck blows against Ganondorf, great blows, some of them, granted from knowledge I retain from one life to the next. A lifetime spent as his slave, once upon a time, showed me secrets and weaknesses that I have exploited ever since.

In one life I played at being a war leader, for my efforts we reclaimed Kakariko, it is, to this day, the last bastion of the free people of this world. I died, bleeding to death on the long tall steps leading up to the city, but many and more died upon my blades first. I always bleed to death, always at twenty. I dream, often, of the slow creep of cold through me as the pain slowly throbs away.

I am seventeen, and as in every other life, I stand here before the Hero, encased as he is in the blue stream of Time. He sleeps. I would cry, but tears abandoned my lifetimes ago. In three years I will be dead. Seventeen years after that, I will be back here, standing, merely a formality by this point. I have long ago given up any and all hope of him waking. I have long ago give up any hope at all. Ah, but just to touch him...

The thought takes me like madness, as it always does.

To be able to touch him, just once, in this unending loop of birth and death and birth... To be able, just once, to feel his lips on mine, as surely fate meant it to be...

But my half-sister had warned me, all those lives ago, not to touch him. She had raged at me, calling me not even by my name, but simply 'Bastard', insisting that I not lay a hand on him. I have obeyed her, always, though I do not now why. She had never asked anything so vehemently of me before, and though she was cruel to me through our childhood I chose to remember her with the fondness I developed for her those last few years, when she was a cold, strong, leader.

The madness takes me, it always does.

I can see my hand, lit by the fiery blue glow of Time itself, hovering, hovering, and at any second I will pull back. I have never broken the command Zelda laid upon me. Always, I have pulled back, turned and left and died three years later, bleeding to death with a pile of my enemies corpses at my feet. This is insanity.

I brush my knuckles over his cheek, and his flesh is cool and dry, and even as I curse myself I am bending, laying my lips gently on his, on that damned half-smile that he has worn for two hundred years. I sigh against his mouth, and wish for the tears that have forsaken me. I straighten, and turn. In three years I will be dead. In twenty years I will be back here. Death, life, death. I wonder, if I killed him, if I would be able to stay dead.

Madness. Insanity. I step away from him, back, back to my life, such as it is. In this life I fight in the army of a man named Kafei, a visionary who has rallied quite the army. He wishes to take me as his lover, but I have taken no lover all these long years, and I will not start now. I sigh, once more, trying to fortify myself for what will come.

Fingers close around my wrist.

My heart stops, just for a second, as my body notes the sudden warm presence behind me. The fingers on my wrist tug, just once, softly, and I turn. He is standing, sword sheathed across his back, eyes the color the sky used to be staring down at me, because, curse him, he is at least two inches taller than I am. I open my mouth, trying to speak, trying to find the words, trying to breath.

His mouth is on mine, then, his arms a vice around me, holding me close and tight even as my own hands dance, searching for a place to rest. His hair is soft and tangled, his mouth hot and he holds me desperately tight. Then he is not kissing me anymore, though he still crushes he against his chest, murmuring into my hair. " Why couldn't I wake up, Sheik? I could see you, feel you, I knew you were there waiting, why couldn't I wake up? Goddesses, I felt you die..." And we are kissing again.

His name is Link, the Hero of Time.

It is, and has always been, his story.